Artist: Nottz/DMPTitle: Nottz Presents DMP: The Teamsta MixtapeRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Chris Yuscavage
It must be the Virginia water. With producers like the Neptunes and Timbaland already having bolstered solid Hip-hop careers off the strength of their work with the likes of Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg, it would seem as though the Virginia quota for production credits had been met long before 2005. Enter Nottz, whose previous B-list efforts on records from Cassidy and G-Unit, along with his upcoming full-length productions with Royce Da 59 and Canibus (not to mention a rumored appearance on Dr. Dres Detox), have built yet another hype around a producer from the Cavalier State.
Still, while other up-and-coming producers in Hip-hop have chosen to go the official mixtape route with their solo debuts (see Alchemist or Clinton Sparks), Nottz teams with fellow Southern emcees DMP (Dirty Music Productions) for Nottz Presents DMP: The Teamsta Mixtape (Teamsta/Fastlife). A two-way street as far as introductions go though, DMP, composed of emcees Black-N-Deckah, Big Shot, Killa Khi, and Star, takes a backseat at times for Hip-hop to get familiar with the bouncy and normally uptempo productions from Nottz.
The head-bustin opening track Call the Ambulance, complete with its slow riding Southern sounds and sirens, epitomizes the energy and chemistry of the DMP group while showing the trademark textured production of most Nottz tracks. But the jazzier vibes and cooler heads on Born & Raised in the Ghetto show that Nottz can just as likely tone down his presentation and let the DMP boys ride out over the carefully placed female crooning.
Nottz is not afraid to incorporate a sample or two into the production mix either as the frosty vocal sample and whispering winds in the background on Cold are enough to send chills up and down your spine. Even the interesting remake of New Editions Mr. Telephone Man on Mr. Smiff-N-Wessun Man rings out creatively enough to sound like more than just another gun-toting Hip-hop tale.
Unfortunately, while Nottz continues to show that the Neptunes and Timbaland are not the only ones raising heat behind the boards in Virginia, his rapping counterparts fall all too short on topics at times over his production. So High lights up another blasé weed-smoking anthem, while simple gangstered-out lyrics like, They call me Killa Khi, I spill n----s for sport/ Hammers be bangin like the judge do the gavel in court, (Bang Ya Hammerz) litter much of the album elsewhere. Even guest appearances from Petey Pablo, Krumbsnatcha, and Royce Da 59 provide little retreat from the typical topics engaged throughout the album.
As far as introductions and first impressions go though, both Nottz and DMP seem to leave solid and appealing hopes for the future on the table with their first collective mixtape. Variety may not be eithers spice of life, but when they each stick to what they do, they manage to do it successfully. Whether its because of positive chemistry with DMP or because of whatever is in that Virginia H2O, one thing emerges from The Teamsta Mixtape Nottz is one of 2005s producers to watch out for.